Archive of films Playtime / Playtime

France / Italy
1967, 118 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2004

A brilliant, humorously poetic foretaste of the modern world. Stylistically Jacques Tati’s most daring film in a new, exemplarily restored version – universally praised at the 2002 Cannes IFF. Bodil Award for Best European Film of 1969.


M. Hulot finds himself in the modernist quarter of a big city, in the midst of cold architecture made of glass and stainless steel. He loses himself in a labyrinth of impersonal offices and is swept off his feet by an invasion of American tourists hectically doing the rounds of the European metropolises. Every shot is the result of perfect choreography of movement, gestures and manners, and captures even the smallest reactions of the characters in the depersonalised environment of the skyscraper. The images are accompanied by a cacophony of sounds and only fragments of dialogue. Tati´s tableau contains an inexhaustible amount of comic detail which cannot be taken in during just one sitting. In its time this work - a comic vision on the border of hallucination and abstraction - was undervalued. Today it is considered to be the most important visual innovation in film of the 1960s. The film was originally shot on 70 mm, but later reconstructed and transferred to 35 mm.

About the director

Jacques Tati (1909, Le Pecq-1982, Paris), real name Jacques Tatischeff. In the 1930s he appeared as a comic in Parisian cabarets and filmed some of his appearances himself. Filmography (selected): L´Ecole des facteurs (1947) was a study for film which made him famous; Jour de fete (1949) captures in an American tempo the antics of a dazzled postman at a village fair; in the comedy Les Vacances de M. Hulot (1953) Tati created the character of a well-meaning French bourgeois; he returned to this character in 1958 in the film Mon oncle, where he confronts his hero with the excesses of mechanised civilisation and the world of snobs; Playtime (1967); Trafic (1970), a sequence of humorous situations experienced by the hero on his way from Paris to Amsterdam. For Swedish TV, he sent in a report from the Parade circus, where he himself appeared as the MC (1974).   


5 rue Nicolas Flamel, 75004, Paris
Tel: +33 153 103 399
Fax: +33 153 103 398

National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Jacques Tati
Screenplay: Jacques Tati, Jacques Lagrange, Art Buchwald
Dir. of Photography: Jean Badal, Andréas Winding
Music: James Campbell, Francis Lemarque
Editor: Gérard Pollicand
Producer: Bernard Maurice, René Silvera
Production: Specta Films, koprodukce / co-production: Jolly Film
Cast: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden, France Rumilly, France Delahalle, Valérie Camille, Erika Dentzler, Nicole Ray, Yvette Ducreux
Contact: Playtime, National Film Archive


Milan Líčka

Film Institution Rep.


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